Servicenavigation und Suchfeld

Trade Marks


Goods and Services

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Trade marks are registered for certain goods and services. This determines the scope of protection of the trade mark. What is known as "list of goods and services" is an essential component of the trade mark application.

First-time users will receive detailed information about “goods and services” on this page. Experts will get a fast overview of the individual classes and options of the harmonised classification database (eKDB database) in the box “Downloads for experts”.

Nice Classification - basis for classification

All goods and services are classified in the 45 classes (34 classes of goods, 11 classes of services) in total of the "Nice Classification" (NCL). The Nice Classification comprises internationally agreed lists of certain goods and services, comprising about 9,000 terms in total. To provide an overview of the contents of all classes, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) issues a pdf-Datei recommended list (in German) for the classification of goods and services. However, in practice, the alphabetical lists of the Nice classification are not sufficient to definitely classify all existing goods and services in a certain class.

International harmonised classification of goods and services

For this reason, the DPMA, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and further national trade mark offices in Europe have jointly developed a harmonised classification database as well as a Europe-wide harmonised classification. In order to allow trade mark applicants to use the terms of this classification, a database (with the international name of “harmonised database” (HDB) was established, which is provided through the common platform "TMclass" (powered by the Harmonised Database) of the harmonised offices. In the German language area, this database is called "einheitliche Klassifikationsdatenbank" (eKDB) (harmonised classification database).

The German-language harmonised classification database

The German-language harmonised classification (eKDB) database contains about 70,000 terms of goods and services, which also take into account the terms of the alphabetical lists of the Nice Classification. The eKDB database is more comprehensive than the Nice Classification but has the same classification system. Its terms, translated in 23 languages, are accepted by the participating countries. A list of all harmonised offices is available on the TMclass platform.

The trade mark offices of the EU and the EUIPO jointly maintain the database and develop it further continuously. New terms are submitted to the participating countries for coordination. The majority vote will decide what terms will be incorporated in the database. If there are different views during the coordination process, each office can appeal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to act as arbitrator.

The structure of the eKDB database is based on English-language concepts. For the update and extension of the database, the English terms are being discussed and submitted for coordination. The German translation of the concepts is accepted by the DPMA - after consulting with the other German-language trade mark offices in the EU, if necessary. This procedure also ensures that the terms which applicants actually need are available in the database, in the long run.

In practice, this means: for a trade mark application with the DPMA you should use the terms of the eKDB database, because the DPMA can process your application faster, if you use the terms of the eKDB database.


The eKDB database is available to you in a shopping cart function for online filing (without requiring a signature) as well as for electronic filing (requiring a signature) at the DPMA.

Of course you can also freely choose other words for the terms of goods and services. For this purpose, you can file electronically (requiring a signature) or file a paper-based application. Instructions on how to use the eKDB database for a paper-based application are provided in chapter IV “Preparing lists of goods and services” of the pdf-Datei Nutzungsanleitung für die eKDB (in German).

Taxonomy structure - the fast way to your goods and services

The eKDB database is structured in a way that aims to make it easier to find terms within a class of this database. The terms of the goods and services of the 45 classes of the Nice Classification were - to the extent possible - summarised by general indications (group titles). In this way a taxonomy structure is developed that maps all goods and services contained in the individual classes in the database.

Moreover, the 45 classes of the Nice Classification are organised in groups and subgroups in the eKDB database. The goods and services falling under the respective group title are assigned to these. This makes the database searchable. Associated terms of goods and services are made available in a clear manner.

Class scopes - comprehensive protection

The “class scopes” are usually composed of the highest level of the taxonomy structure of the eKDB database. Unlike the class headings of the Nice Classification, the class scopes are designed in such a way that the most comprehensive protection is obtained within the respective class if they are used in the lists of goods and services. In order to fulfil this function the terms of the class scopes must be basically classifiable and sufficiently determined. That is why the class scopes are often drafted more extensively than the class headings of the Nice Classification and, in some cases, also include terms of a lower level of the taxonomy structure.

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Last updated: 21/02/18 


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